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Tisbury Connector Fails Again

Drivers will continue to negotiate Vineyard Haven's chronically congested intersection of Edgartown-Vineyard Haven and State Roads at Look Street as they have for generations: The bypass plan appears to be dead after two town meetings.

"Building more of anything does not solve problems, it creates more problems," said James Tilton, standing, one of many Tisbury voters who spoke at Tuesday's special town meeting in the school gym. (Louisa Hufstader photo)
"Building more of anything does not solve problems, it creates more problems," said James Tilton, standing, one of many Tisbury voters who spoke at Tuesday's special town meeting in the school gym. (Louisa Hufstader photo)
For the second time this year, supporters of a long-proposed connector road linking Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road to State Road failed at town meeting to poll the required supermajority required for a Proposition 2.5 override.

At Tuesday's special town meeting in the Tisbury School gym, 147 voters stood in favor of the $1.3 million borrowing article with 77 opposed.

"This is a very large step in the long-term planning of Vineyard Haven and of the Island as a whole," said Tony Peak, a member of the planning commission who lives on Andrews Road, near where the connector road would have been created using existing dirt roads.

Town resident James Tilton, opposing the article, called it "just robbing Peter to pay Paul," continuing:

"Building more of anything does not solve problems, it creates more problems."

To pass, the article needed a two-thirds majority: Just a couple more Yes votes would have carried the question. 

Had a simple majority been required, the connector — designed to bypass the chronically congested intersection of Edgartown-Vineyard Haven and State Roads at Look Street — would also have squeaked by at April's annual town meeting, when it tallied a 69-66 vote count.

Ballot-box polling that followed the April meeting showed 312 voters in favor of the connector with 236 against, emboldening the town's public works department to raise the question again.

With its second failure in 2013, the issue appears to be dead.

Did you support the connector road? Do you think it's a lost cause now? Tell us in the comments.

chris gargan December 11, 2013 at 07:30 AM
I have a farm 25 miles west of our state (WI) capitol. For 100 years the access road to the city was a 2 lane highway that slowed traffic as it went through each town. The state decided to build a 4 lane divided highway to "ease" congestion and make our journey safer. 20 years later we have mansions in former cornfields and the local business are all expiring. The traffic is horrendous, it's become the route of choice for trucking, and we now have road fatalities where we formerly had none. More and better roads do not necessarily improve the quality of life. Live with the congestion 3 months of the year. Maybe it will deter some of the 1%ers.
David Whitmon December 11, 2013 at 08:25 AM
Don't forget the old adage, building more roads to deal with congestion is like buying a bigger pair of pants to cure obesity. The Island is at it's limit if not quite a bit beyond. It would be better to sink more money into alternative means of transportation than to accommodate more and more and more motor vehicles on our very limited infrastructure. Nothing has impacted the beauty of this Island than the automobile.
Michael W. Cutler December 11, 2013 at 08:45 AM
This is a comment from someone who drives a car ( not a bicycle ) and who lives on the island: the voters of Vineyard Haven are idiots!
Ron Cisneros December 11, 2013 at 08:54 AM
I'm With you Michael!
Peter Dreyer December 11, 2013 at 09:49 AM
Before deciding pro or con, I would like to hear from James Tilton what problems the Tisbury Connector would create.
Billie j Sullivan December 11, 2013 at 12:45 PM
With the price of gas on the island I would think more direct routes would benefit all. traffic or not.
mushroom December 11, 2013 at 09:36 PM
I live on the corner of E-VH Rd, across the street from Look. We have to power wash our porch, at least twice a year, to remove the black deposit of soot, break dust, exhaust, etc..... that adheres to every board, window and piece of trim. Although the traffic is magnified in the summer months it is a stark reality year round: Goodale and IFP trucks, big rigs jake breaking, catching the first boat, commuters coming and going, weekend and holiday visitors, ofter backed up well past the crosswalk. There is no doubt that this intersection is in need of relief, not just in the summer. Having another option to avert that corner is not a bad thing and long overdue. Just decide the best and most cost effective way to do it.
chris gargan December 12, 2013 at 07:04 AM
To mushroom: I wonder if a hedge row of arbor vitae would cut down on the particle drift? It might cut down the noise as well. I don't think any of the towns were planned for the congestion and traffic you all experience these days. Mackinac Island solved the problem by banning all cars other than emergent vehicles. ( I realize it's much smaller) Not sure what they do for tradesmen vehicles.
jgbreuer December 12, 2013 at 08:28 AM
definitely support intersection congestion is inexcusable..
David Whitmon December 12, 2013 at 09:17 AM
At what point do we say enough is enough? Emanate Domain? The road widths are what they are. Who is willing among you to give up their property along these roads so we can attempt to ease traffic? Ease traffic for a very short amount of time. There has never been a traffic easing project that when finally completed, that has eased traffic for any significant amount of time. Whether it is big or small, they have never stood up to stated predictions. They have one and all increased traffic. The perceived easier we make it to drive, the more who will drive. Bit by bit we are altering the image of this island. For what? It is only going to get worse going in this direction. It would be nice if we worked towards reducing traffic now instead of later when we will no longer have a choice.
Michael W. Cutler December 12, 2013 at 09:57 PM
The greed of the SSA and the chamber of commerce will never allow a reduction in vehicular traffic to the Island. So, it seems logical that the next step is to alleviate traffic congestion. The proposed connector road or roads would do this. Do we need three connector roads? I would suggest the Holmes Hole road connector would be adequate as a first step solution.

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